This story has gotten very little attention here in the U.S. but it is so humorous and I’d thought you might enjoy a good laugh. Meet businessman Safi Quarshi. He was arrested 6 weeks ago for bouncing a check for $54 million dollars. Who is Quarshi? He is the owner of Great Britain, of course!
No, not the real UK. Quarshi and his partner, Mustafa Nagri, purchased the 11 acre ‘Great Britain’ in 2008 for $64 million. The fake Britain was part of Dubai’s bizarre project, known simply as, The World. The scheme was to construct 300 man-made islands which would represent Earth. The project was initially launched in 2003 by Dubai’s sovereign, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The developer, Nakheel Properties, part of Dubai World, envisioned this artificial Earth to be about 9 kilometers by 7 kilometers once completed adding over 200 kilometers of new beachfront property and provide luxury resorts and homes for the ultra rich.
The project, however, has come to a screeching halt after the credit crunch and Dubai World went $22 Billion dollars in debt. All the stands for now are some 300 small islands. There is still some interest in this boondoggle, which brings us back to Quarshi and his partner, both who currently reside in the Port Rashid jail. Quarshi spoke with the a reporter from the Zawya Dow Jones from his cell, telling them, “We have done nothing wrong. We’re not criminals, we are victims of the system.” Amen, Brother! You keep telling them that! Quarshi’s bad checked bounced in the midst of a land sale. He had plans for also purchasing Moscow, another pile of sand that is part of ‘The World’, before getting arrested that is.
Oddly enough, most of ‘The World’ has already been sold. Plans call for the first islands to be fully developed in 2011. Nakheel is even considering their next project, ‘The Universe’, another batch of man-made islands to be shaped like our solar system. After Nakheel was successful in their first terra-forming development, Palm Jumeirah, shaped liked a palm tree, I suppose it stands to reason that ‘The Universe’ would be next. You would think after Dubai World’s financial woes, and finding few takers to occupy the world’s tallest building just recently completed, they might take a breather first before reaching for the heavens.